Leon Washington's Demands Will Cost New York Jets in the End

Gary G.Correspondent IMay 12, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 14:  Leon Washington #29 of The New York Jets scores a touchdown in the second quarter against  The Buffalo Bills during their game on December 14, 2008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

By holding out with current teammate Thomas Jones, Leon Washington has likely sacrificed his team's running game for the upcoming season.

Thomas Jones started the offseason by holding out. He has two years remaining on a four-year, $20 million deal that he signed in 2007

Coming off of the best season of his career at age 30, Jones rushed for 1,312 yards on 290 attempts and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also added 36 receptions out of the backfield for 207 yards with two touchdown passes.

The contract that Jones decided to signed in 2007 was front-loaded and paid him $13 million of the full $20 million in the first two years of the contract. He now faces a $900,000 base salary for the 2009 season with a $2.8 million base salary for 2010 including a $3 million roster bonus on the fifth day of the league year.

It definitely gripes me when a player chooses to a sign a contract that he agrees to, only to hold out for a new one two years later because he had a good season.

Jones isn't the only Jets running back that is holding out.

Leon Washington, who is the Jets' everything man, is holding out as well.

It is quite clear that Washington is underpaid. He represented the Jets as an All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2008 as a kick returner, but his mere presence on the field makes him an amazing football player. Other teams cringe with the thought of the ball in Leon's hands in open space.

Washington is set to earn $530,000 in the fourth year of his rookie deal.

It is highly unlikely that the Jets don't give him the deal he is coveting as he is just such an impact player on this team whether it be running, catching, or returning.

Jones on the other hand may have just gotten help from his teammate. When Leon chose not to attend Monday's OTA's, it put the Jets in a helpless spot, with not a single running back that has ever played a down in the NFL on the roster in attendance.

If the Jets choose to give Leon a new deal and not give anything to Jones, you can bet he will be fuming and ask out of his current deal.

The Jets had an opportunity to go into the 2009 season with a tri-headed running back attack similar to the Giants of the past few seasons. How has that done for them?

Prior to Monday, I assumed the Jets would find a happy medium with Thomas Jones and work out something, but now? With two money-loving unhappy running backs? I think Thomas Jones will be wearing a new uniform come September.